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Adult Reentry and Employment Strategic Planning Program

Grants to USA Agencies and Tribes to Assist
Incarcerated Adults Reentering the Workforce

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Funding Source:

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U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of Justice Programs (OJP) Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA)

Conf. Date:


Deadline Date:

06/18/18 11:59 PM ET


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Grants to USA state agencies and tribes to develop a plan to integrate correctional and employment systems and programming. Applicants are advised to verify or create the required registrations well in advance of the deadline date. This program furthers the mission to enhance public safety and reduce crime and recidivism by providing services and programs to help facilitate the successful reintegration of offenders returning to communities after a prison or jail sentence.


Second Chance Act programs are designed to help communities develop and implement comprehensive and collaborative strategies that address the challenges posed by incarcerated adults re-entering their communities and the workforce, as well as recidivism reduction. Several years ago, BJA initiated a pilot project, the “Integrated Reentry and Employment Strategies” project that sought to test an innovative approach to reduce recidivism and increase job readiness for offenders returning from incarceration and to integrate best practices in reentry and employment. Building upon the pilot project, the FY 2018 Adult Reentry and Employment Strategic Planning Program will provide funding for strategic planning grants to replicate the framework developed in the pilot project.

Program-specific Information:

The Second Chance Act (Public Law 110–199) seeks a comprehensive response for incarcerated adults who are released from prison or jail, and returning to their communities. Over 2.1 million individuals are incarcerated in federal and state prisons, and millions of people cycle through local jails every year. Ninety-five percent of all offenders incarcerated in state prisons will eventually be released.

Securing meaningful employment can facilitate successful reentry for offenders leaving correctional facilities. However, there are many barriers that offenders with criminal records encounter as they attempt to re-enter both the community and the workforce. Improving employment outcomes for this population may contribute to recidivism reduction and increased public safety. However, some communities simply do not have enough resources for corrections, reentry, and workforce development to provide every adult offender leaving incarceration with services that may assist them in reentering the community.

Ensuring people are connected to the most appropriate combination of treatment, services, and interventions, at various points in their reentry process, requires access to data and service delivery and coordination by multiple systems, including workforce development. An integrated approach is needed to ensure that criminal justice and workforce development systems utilize their available resources in ways that may increase public safety by reducing recidivism, and improving the employability of their shared population.

This FY 2018 solicitation will provide funding for six 12-month Adult Reentry and Employment Strategic Planning Program grants. Upon completion of their strategic plans, and pending federal appropriations in FY 2019, award recipients will be invited by BJA to submit applications for 24-month FY19 Adult Reentry and Employment Implementation Program grants for up to $1,000,000 each. Any FY 2019 implementation grants will be limited to activities authorized for funding at that time.4 Future funding decisions for these implementation grants will be competitive and will depend upon the quality and comprehensiveness of the strategic plans developed, as well as grantee performance.

Objectives and Deliverables:

The purpose of the Adult Reentry and Employment Strategic Planning Program is to fund the development of strategic plans that are comprehensive, collaborative, and multisystemic in their approach to increase public safety by reducing recidivism and improving employability in offenders returning to communities from incarceration. These plans should include an assessment of the current system and propose solutions to make assessment-driven referrals to ensure successful transition from correctional facilities to the community.

This comprehensive grant program requires intensive partnership and coordination with state, local, and tribal agencies to ensure that offenders leaving incarceration are connected to the most appropriate reentry and employment services, based on their assessed risk and needs.

Please see the National Reentry Resource Center for The Integrated Reentry and Employment Strategies Pilot Project: Four Questions Communities Should Consider When Implementing a Collaborative Approach, which was developed to help communities assess their ability to integrate the efforts of criminal justice and workforce development systems and services.

The main deliverables of the activities funded under this solicitation will include development of a comprehensive strategic plan and demonstration of the steps taken in its development. The developmental steps taken must reflect the mandatory requirements (objectives) described below.

Mandatory Requirements (Objectives):

To receive an award under this announcement, applicants must clearly demonstrate their ability to comply with the following mandatory requirements related to systems mapping and capacity building.

1: Establish a cross-disciplinary, executive-level steering committee comprised of relevant leaders and administrators of relevant agencies to guide the strategic planning process. (Note: BJA acknowledges that some applicants will utilize existing reentry councils or task forces for this purpose.) The executive-level steering committee’s structure—including who will serve on the committee, who will chair the committee, and how often the committee will meet and over what period of time—should be described. Applicants must include a description of the steering committee’s priorities, which should align with the efforts of the cross-disciplinary working group, include opportunities to identify and address policy and programmatic barriers to successful employment after reentry, and align funding to support best practices in reentry and employment.

Applicants must provide evidence of a history of collaboration between state, local and or tribal government agencies overseeing corrections, parole, probation, workforce development, and education, as well as an extensive discussion of the role of the corrections department in ensuring the successful reentry of offenders into communities, including securing and maintaining employment. Successful applicants will also describe how correctional, workforce development, and education funds such as the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) are leveraged to support correctional education or reentry services. For more information about WIOA and how it can be leveraged to support employment and education services for offenders, please see The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act: What Corrections and Reentry Agencies Need to Know.

2: Establish a cross-disciplinary working group comprised of relevant state, tribal, territorial, or local leaders and representatives of relevant agencies, service providers, nonprofit organizations, and other key stakeholders to guide the strategic planning process. (Note: BJA acknowledges that some states will utilize existing reentry councils or task forces for this purpose.) The working group must include criminal justice stakeholder participation, including corrections, parole, probation, and reentry service providers, and workforce development stakeholder participation, including the state and local workforce investment boards, employment and training service providers, community colleges, and employers.

The working group’s structure— including who will serve on the working group, who will chair and staff the group, and how often the group will meet and over what period of time—should be described. (Note: The chair(s) of the group should represent the workforce development and correctional systems. Membership should include state-level officials as well as local stakeholders from the workforce development and reentry systems.) Applicants must include a description of the working group’s priorities, which should include opportunities to identify and address state and local barriers to effective reentry and successful employment, including policies and procedures, pooling resources and funding streams, and sharing data and best practices in reentry and employment among agencies.

Applications must include letters of support from corrections officials responsible for facilities or offenders to be served through the program as well as from the workforce development and community-based reentry organizations that will deliver services.

3: Complete a comprehensive process analysis and systems mapping that includes risk-need and job readiness screenings and assessments, program referrals, information-sharing processes, and transition planning protocols, as well as an inventory of the existing service capacity and alignment of programs with best practices.

The process for completing this assessment will be guided by a Planning and Implementation (P&I) Guide, provided by BJA’s technical assistance provider, the National Reentry Resource Center. This guide will help ensure that grantees meet the requirements outlined below for the systems mapping deliverable. The P&I Guide will be submitted to BJA for approval as the final report.

The process analysis and systems mapping should consist of a thorough review of risk- needs and job readiness screenings and assessments, programs, and processes both in the correctional facility and in the community. The applicant may choose to focus on one or more state and or tribal correctional facilities. The applicant must also identify one or more local geographic area(s) of focus and provide a detailed explanation of why the geographic area(s) was selected.

The applicant must describe the target population, which is defined as offenders incarcerated in the identified state correctional facility(ies) who are being released to the identified local geographic area(s). The target population must be moderate to high risk as identified using a validated risk-needs assessment tool. The applicant must identify the validated risk-needs assessment tool used and the risk levels eligible for participation in the program. “Risk” is defined as the likelihood that an offender will re- offend upon release from a correctional facility.

The applicant must describe the following assessment elements:

-Risk-needs assessments and job readiness screening tools to determine program or service needs, including who administers the assessments and when, and the processes associated with making program referrals in the correctional facility(ies) and in the community.

-Data analysis to understand the risk, education and employment needs, and demographics of the target population.

-Identification and review of the type and quality of existing correctional and employment programming in the correctional facility(ies) and in the community(ies) of focus to which the target population is being released, which are designed to change criminal behaviors, including the alignment of programs with evidence-based principles and promising practices from the corrections and workforce development fields.

-Description of the information-sharing processes among agencies to identify program needs and programs completed which will support the successful transition from incarceration to the community.

-Statutory, regulatory, rules-based, and practice-based hurdles to reintegration of offenders into the community.

-Explanation of the statewide definition of recidivism, including a description of how that rate is calculated on a regular basis and reported to policymakers periodically so that changes can be routinely and effectively tracked over time, and demonstrate the capability to access and obtain data. The applicant must also include a baseline recidivism rate for the proposed target population.

-Identification of connections to other reentry and employment programs in the state or tribe that are funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and/or U.S. Department of Education, with a clear explanation as to how the programs will be coordinated to provide complementary—not duplicative—services. Award recipients must demonstrate a commitment to share data and work closely with BJA’s technical assistance provider, the National Reentry Resource Center, during the strategic planning phase, and if awarded, during the implementation phase. Applicants should also describe what, if any, types of intensive technical assistance (which is available to grantees, in addition to whatever funding support they receive) they anticipate will be of particular value as it conducts a thorough review of existing policies, practices, and programs and develops its strategic plan.

4: Create an industry-advisory group of employers to advise on program development and help promote direct connections to employment.

The applicant must describe the process for establishing and regularly engaging an industry advisory group of employers to advise on program development and identifying opportunities for employment. The advisory group must include among its membership, business leaders from a specific growth industry in the region. Applicants must describe the rationale for selecting the industry.

The advisory group’s structure—including who will serve on the advisory group, who will chair and staff the group, and how often the group will meet and over what period of time—should be described. The applicant must include a description of the advisory group’s priorities, which should include opportunities to develop job training programs that align with the industry’s hiring needs and industry-recognized credentials, and identify and address state, local, and tribal barriers to accessing and advancing in employment in that industry.

The advisory group should result in formal partnerships with employers willing to consider hiring released offenders after they complete job training programs (see Mandatory Requirement #5).

5: Develop a plan for integrating the best practices from the corrections and workforce development fields to build the capacity of—or establish new—correctional and community-based education and employment programs aimed to reduce recidivism and improve employment outcomes among those most likely to recidivate. Systems and funding should align with this plan.


Award recipients will be required to develop a strategic plan for addressing gaps in services or systems based on the results of the comprehensive process analysis and systems mapping (Mandatory Requirement #3). This strategic plan must include, but is not limited to:

-Improving existing program quality and developing new job training and education programs and services.
-Ensure service contracts reflect evidence-based principles and promising practices.
-Support coordinated transition and release planning using formal partnerships and data- sharing agreements and systems.
-Support process and outcome evaluation efforts to add to the field’s knowledge about what works to improve employment and recidivism outcomes.
-Describe of how the program could be broadly replicated or brought to scale if demonstrated to be effective, including training for staff on implementation of risk-needs assessment tools, the importance of using evidence-based practices, and opportunities to leverage private, local, state, tribal, and/or federal resources (cash or in-kind).

Evidence-based Programs or Practices:

OJP strongly emphasizes the use of data and evidence in policy making and program development in criminal justice, juvenile justice, and crime victim services. OJP is committed to:
-Improving the quantity and quality of evidence OJP generates.
-Integrating evidence into program, practice, and policy decisions within OJP and the field.
-Improving the translation of evidence into practice.

OJP considers programs and practices to be evidence-based when their effectiveness has been demonstrated by causal evidence, generally obtained through one or more outcome evaluations. Causal evidence documents a relationship between an activity or intervention (including technology) and its intended outcome, including measuring the direction and size of a change, and the extent to which a change may be attributed to the activity or intervention. Causal evidence depends on the use of scientific methods to rule out, to the extent possible, alternative explanations for the documented change. The strength of causal evidence, based on the factors described above, will influence the degree to which OJP considers a program or practice to be evidence-based.

Information Regarding Potential Evaluation of Programs and Activities:

The Department of Justice has prioritized the use of evidence-based programming and deems it critical to continue to build and expand the evidence informing criminal and juvenile justice programs to reach the highest level of rigor possible. Therefore, applicants should note that the Office of Justice Programs may conduct or support an evaluation of the programs and activities funded under this solicitation. Recipients and sub-recipients will be expected to cooperate with program-related assessments or evaluation efforts, including through the collection and provision of information or data requested by OJP (or its designee) for the assessment or evaluation of any activities and/or outcomes of those activities funded under this solicitation. The information or data requested may be in addition to any other financial or performance data already required under this program.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 183592

Number of Grants:

BJA expects to make up to six awards.

Estimated Size of Grant:

Up to $200,000

Term of Contract:

BJA expects to make awards for a 12-month period of performance, to begin on October 1, 2018.

BJA may, in certain cases, provide additional funding in future years to awards made under this solicitation, through continuation awards. In making decisions regarding continuation awards, OJP will consider, among other factors, the availability of appropriations, when the program or project was last competed, OJP’s strategic priorities, and OJP’s assessment of both the management of the award (for example, timeliness and quality of progress reports), and the progress of the work funded under the award.


  • City or township governments
  • County governments
  • For profit organizations other than small businesses
  • Indian housing authorities
  • Native American tribal governments (Federally recognized)
  • Native American tribal organizations (other than Federally recognized tribal governments)
  • Nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education
  • Nonprofits that do not have a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education
  • Public housing authorities
  • See RFP and/or Grant Guidelines for full eligibility
  • Small businesses
  • Special district governments
  • State governments

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Eligible applicants are limited to state correctional agencies (state departments of corrections parole or probation), State Administering Agencies (SAAs), and federally recognized Indian tribes (as determined by the Secretary of the Interior).

BJA welcomes collaborative applications under which two or more entities would carry out the federal award, including corrections, parole and probation, and workforce development agencies; however, only one entity may be the applicant. Any others must be proposed as subrecipients (subgrantees). The applicant must be the entity that would have primary responsibility for carrying out the award, including administering the funding and managing the entire project. Under this solicitation, only one application by any particular applicant entity will be considered. An entity may, however, be proposed as a subrecipient (subgrantee) in more than one application.

All recipients and subrecipients (including any for-profit organization) must forgo any profit or management fee.

Pre-proposal Conference:

An information webinar is scheduled for Wednesday, May 23, 2:00 - 3:00 PM ET.

In this webinar, representatives from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) and the National Reentry Resource Center will review the new grant program on adult reentry and employment.

State correctional agencies, state administrative agencies (SAAs), and federally recognized Native American tribes are eligible to apply for funding as lead applicants; partnerships with community correctional agencies, workforce development agencies, and other entities are encouraged.

Speakers on the webinar will discuss
-The goals of the grant program;
-Required components and deliverables of the grant program;
-Tips for writing a successful grant application; and
-Opportunities for awardees to compete for two-year implementation grants of up to $1,000,000 each.

More information about the webinar may be found here:

Register to attend:

Pre-Application Information:

Applicants must acquire a unique entity identifier (currently, a DUNS number). Obtaining a DUNS number is a free, one-time activity. A DUNS number is usually received within 1-2 business days.

Applicants must acquire or maintain registration with SAM. Each applicant must update or renew its SAM registration at least annually to maintain an active status. SAM registration and renewal can take as long as 10 business days to complete (2 more weeks to acquire an EIN).

Applicants must register with prior to submitting an application.

An application cannot be successfully submitted in until receives the SAM registration information. Once the SAM registration/renewal is complete, the information transfer from SAM to can take as long as 48 hours. OJP recommends that the applicant register or renew registration with SAM as early as possible.

All applications are due by 11:59 p.m. eastern time on June 18, 2018.

To be considered timely, an application must be submitted by the application deadline using, and the applicant must have received a validation message from that indicates successful and timely submission.

OJP urges applicants to submit applications at least 72 hours prior to the application due date, to allow time for the applicant to receive validation messages or rejection notifications from, and to correct in a timely fashion any problems that may have caused a rejection notification.

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Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs. Customer Support Hotline:
Phone: 800-518-4726 / 606-545-5035

National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS) Response Center:
Toll-free: 1-800-851-3420
TTY: 301-240-6310 (hearing impaired only)
Fax: 301-240-5830
Web Chat:

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URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming